Data: Use-of-force Policies Followed 95% Of The Time
Copyright (c) 2023 Albuquerque Journal, Edition 3/2/2023 BY MATTHEW REISEN, JOURNAL STAFF WRITER
Thursday, March 2, 2023
Out of the nearly 300 times when Albuquerque Police Department officers used force in the latter part of 2022, they were found to have followed policies 95% of the time.
APD spokesman Gilbert Gallegos said out of 296 use of force incidents between Aug. 1 and Dec. 31, the Internal Affairs Force Division determined officers didn't follow policies in 15 of the cases. Gallegos did not have specifics on the 15 incidents.
Five of those incidents were partially within policy and 10 were out of policy, according to data released Wednesday by APD.
Among the 15 incidents, 12 were Level 2 or 3 uses of force - meaning, respectively, those resulting in injury or expected to cause injury and those resulting in serious injury or death.
APD officers shot or shot at 18 people last year, killing 10. It was a 100% increase in police shootings from 2021 and the highest total for the department since 2016.
Of the 281 use-of-force incidents where officers followed policies in 2022, 59 were Level 1 - causing only slight pain, disorientation or discomfort or pointing a firearm or less lethal weapon at a person - 173 were Level 2 and 49 were Level 3, according to the data.
The data showed there were also three Level 2 use-of-force incidents that were within policy but involved a "secondary policy shortfall."
Superintendent of Police Reform Victor Valdez called the results "an important milestone" for APD that "reflects the success across the department" in complying with the Court Approved Settlement
Agreement, or CASA.
Gallegos said a progress report will be released in the coming weeks and the 17th report from Independent Monitor James Ginger will come out in May.
Ginger's 16th report, released in November, found APD had made "significant progress" with the CASA by reaching 80% operational compliance, which tracks whether officers are following policies and being corrected when they don't.
It represented a 10% increase since the previous report and followed a turbulent period, between 2020 and 2021, when Ginger repeatedly criticized the department for going backward in compliance.
Things started to turn around in 2021 after an External Force Investigation Team was brought on to train IAFD to investigate incidents, meet deadlines and follow proper procedures.
Albuquerque entered into the CASA in 2014 following a U.S. Department of Justice investigation that found APD officers had a pattern of using excessive force with little oversight that was backed by inadequate training and ineffective policies.
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